While living in NYC in my early 20’s, I remember sitting in a cafe across from Carnegie Hall journaling as I watched the NYC Marathon run past. I saw the strength and determination in those runners, and I decided there and then that I would run a marathon by age 30…
Fast forward to the Thanksgiving of my 30th trip around the sun, I was living in downtown Charleston and reading through old journals. I came across that entry and knew that time was running out to uphold my vow. I did a little research and found that the Kiawah Marathon was a very kind and flat lowcountry course, but it was only two weeks away… I had been a runner since high school, and had a few 5 and 10Ks under my belt, though my longest run was only about 7 miles. Regardless, I was not going to let myself down. I registered, then laced up my Asics and took off around the peninsula.
Two weeks later, I coffeed up and made the drive to Kiawah. It was a balmy December morning with a projected high of 80 degrees on the Carolina coast. The starting line was packed, and the energy was enough to carry us all for at least the first mile. I set a slow pace and tuned in to the soundtrack I had carefully curated on my ipod. It was just me, the music, and the morning – and I ran.
When the fatigue set in around mile 13, I decided to eat the remainder of the elephant one bite at a time. I delegated a single mile to my calves, then one to my quads, then my glutes, abs, obliques, pectorals, biceps, triceps… before I knew it, me and each of my 639 muscles had run a full marathon – 26.2 miles!
Did I know that I could do it? No. But I also did not know that I couldn’t – and I would never have known what I was capable of had I simply accepted the limitations suggested by my experiential reality to date. What I discovered on Kiawah that day, was that my most powerful and reliable ally is with me at all times. Without any conscious instruction, the human body is working absolute miracles every minute of every day – inhaling, exhaling, oxygenating blood and perfusing it to all of the tissues of the body, healing, regenerating, restoring… The mind is intelligent, but the body is truly wise. Honor it, nurture it, and above all, trust it.